In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. became entrenched in a “Cold War” with the Soviet Union-capitalism versus communism. The power struggle played out on many battlefields, figuratively (the space race) and literally (the Vietnam War), with the threat of nuclear destruction looming in the background. The era was defined by an undercurrent of anxiety, expressed in works by writers like Kurt Vonnegut, John Hersey, Saul Bellow, and Richard Condon.
Paradoxically, the period between 1946 and 1970 was also a time of optimism. An economic boom dramatically changed the standard of living for middle-class families, making the suburbs a popular setting for books, movies, and television. Real-life achievements in technology inspired fictional adventures on land and in space.